SPAIN: Catalonia Secession Bid Heats Up After National Police Seize Ten Million Referendum Ballots [VIDEO]

The Associated Press reports:

Spain will deploy police reinforcements to Catalonia to help maintain order if an independence referendum pledged by Catalan officials but opposed by the national government goes ahead, officials said Friday. The measure came amid rising tension between Spanish and Catalan authorities over the planned Oct. 1 ballot.

Civil Guard police this week arrested around a dozen regional government officials and seized about 10 million ballot papers. Authorities in the wealthy northeastern region insist the vote will take place, even though Spain’s Constitutional Court has ordered it to be suspended and the Madrid-based national government insists it is illegal.

Hundreds of pro-independence supporters had protested outside the courthouse to demand the officials’ release. Meanwhile, around 2,000 students gathered around and inside one of Barcelona’s main universities calling for an end to the national government’s crackdown. They carried pro-independence flags and banners supporting the ballot.

The history of the movement as explained in the second clip below is rather enlightening.

  • billbear1961

    Madrid is being very foolish.

    • crewman

      According to the second video, 49% of Catalans are against secession, and 41% support it. Heavy-handed moves by outsiders could easily push more people towards wanting independence.

      • billbear1961

        It’s one of the surest ways to do it, yes.

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      • Archie Gwyllt

        ‘Heavy handed outsiders’ are not always in favor of independence, and the right to self determination. In fact they never are. Certain of those heavy handed folk gave you all Trump. Feeling pushed towards independence by them are you?
        Sorry, but your comment seems to put all the dark forces on the side of independence, err – self determination I mean.

        • Judas Peckerwood

          Reading comprehension — how does it work?

        • Magpie

          That’s hilarious. You misread their comment and then imbued it with your own ideas. I think you are ‘feeling pushed’ towards an idea by your own subconscious.

          • Archie Gwyllt

            No. Please re-read it yourself. This is important outside the US, and deservers to be taken more seriously. I am committed to freedom struggles, in Scotland, my home, and in Catalonia. Take a breath, and a step back, and try to see things from a wider context from what you are used to. If you still don’t get it, be more specific and I’ll help you to see things more clearly.

          • Magpie

            Original Comment: “Heavy-handed moves by outsiders (Madrid) could easily push more people (Catalonians) towards wanting independence.”

            Your Comment: ‘Heavy handed outsiders’ (Madrid?) are not always in favor of independence, and the right to self determination. In fact they (Madrid) never are.”

            Is that what you meant?

          • JCF

            Laddie, Scottish and American English may be mutually-indecipherable. You misunderstood crewman: no harm, no foul. Just don’t get defensive.

  • Rex

    Succession seems like a good idea until your little piece of property gets hit with a natural disaster – ask Texas.

    • Tatonka

      Don’t ask Texas. We’re still chock-full-o-nuts down here, hurricanes or no.

    • Ivan T. Errible

      “Succession”?
      Do you mean “secession”?

      • Rex

        Yes, where’s spell check when I need it?

        • Craig Howell

          Spell check wouldn’t help, since “succession” is also a legitimate word. Spell check doesn’t get “context.”

    • The_Wretched

      Puerto Rico should be getting a hand from the US FED GOV right about now.

  • Bluto

    This is heavy handed, things are gonna get ugly.

  • greenmanTN

    Good riddance and take that silly TH sound with you! (I’m kidding)

    I wonder if Russia is meddling in this too?

    • Halou

      Russia is more than likely offering secret assistance to both sides. Anything to destabilize the continent and tarnish the European dream.

    • LatrinaDiBucca

      Russia has zero interest in the variants of Castillian phonology, of which incidentally the voiceless linguadental fricative is NOT a feature of Catalan, so your comment makes no sense and is ignurnt.

      • greenmanTN

        Wouldn’t be the first time…

  • Elsewhere1010

    Most countries that have been subjugated by another entity will, at some point, become autonomous again. Gaul, Britain, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the list goes on throughout history almost as though nationalism is a force of nature.

    It keeps cartographers employed and arms manufacturers in business.

    • Archie Gwyllt

      ‘Nationalism’ has many forms, and many different interpretations. Be careful not to fall into the trap of including very different movements into one definition. ‘Nationalist’, which is so often used to slur right-wing secession can equally be used for liberation struggles, usually by those who oppose freedom. Remember, the USA had a war of independence fought by American nationalists.

      • Craig Howell

        Not to mention that little fracas we call the Civil War, known in some quarters as “The War For Southern Independence.”

        • Archie Gwyllt

          Exactly. Just shows we have to try to be more precise, and avoid conflating all independence movements. As a Scot, I’m keenly aware of the struggles for independence fought by the colonised and oppressed counties of the British Empire.

    • The_Wretched

      I read a note somewhere yesterday that nationalism if you’re an oppressed minority is a way to keep an identity alive and fight oppression where as nationalism from the majority always is used to oppress.

  • Tatonka

    Since (blessedly) I don’t know enough about this to get seriously upset, I’ll just leave this here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n50mIk0EH0w

  • Ninja0980

    This isn’t going to end well.

  • Leo

    OT. Remind me not to visit the RealClearPolitics comments section again. The one on the Ellen Degeneres story is sad and scary. Either a lot of Russian bots, Drudge Report/Breitbart traffic, we have a lot more work to do, or all of the above.

    • Blake J Butler

      I avoid their stories for good reason, that and they post the right wing articles that are pure fuckery, about how trump is right, republicans are right, i only go to them to look at polling for 2017 and 2018.

  • pepón
    • barrixines

      Has El Pais moved to the right of late? Though I probably agree with a lot of their overview, I can’t honestly say their coverage is impartial. Everything I read in El Pais feels very loaded.

      • pepón

        This is not about left or right. This is about truth. Is it true what they say? If it is true, I don’t care about the color.

      • Do Something Nice
      • pepón

        Has “Libération” also moved to the right? L’avenir
        de l’Europe se joue (à nouveau) en Catalogne
        ? I really don’t understand how people that consider themselves to be liberal, or left can be in favor of any nationalism, even less the Catalan one.

        “En lieu et place [du nationalisme], on retrouve, répétés comme un mantra, tous les clichés
        du nationalisme le plus obtus, teintés de racisme, de mépris de classe,
        voire d’une forme de suprématisme culturel : d’un côté, le «nous», un
        peuple éduqué, travailleur, progressiste, honnête, républicain et
        européen. De l’autre, «eux», canaille ibérique rétrograde, paresseuse et
        corrompue, attachée à une monarchie démonétisée à force de scandales et
        perpétuellement en retard sur l’heure européenne.”

        El País has just stopped mincing words. That’s all.

  • barrixines

    I don’t think this could have been handled any worse than it has been by Madrid. Watch as a nationalist minority swings to a majority. Watch as what has historicially been a peaceful movement begin to reconsider their tactics. Though I’d never vote in any referendum either way, my instincts have always been anti-nationalist despite being very sympathetic to the historical suppression of Catalan identity. You win no friends either way. But in the past few days I’ve been watching in astonishment as Rajoy pushes this country deep into a major crisis. It’s so blatantly wrong-footed I almost feel like I am missing a big part of the picture. If a fence sitter like me is appalled, you can imagine the mood here with the nationalist Catalans right now.

    • Do Something Nice

      They should have allowed the election and sweetened the pot for the Catalans in the days leading to the election. As you wrote, the polls showed that most Catalans opposed independence and an election could have been the end of things. If the vote was to support independence, then the Spanish government could have gone to court to overturn the results.

      • barrixines

        I do worry about outside influences on any referendum here. As with Trump and Brexit this is another issue guaranteed to turn a nation on itself and push it into a state of paralysis.

      • pepón

        1. The last one was not the end of things
        2. Only people in favor would have voted –> independence wins –> the next day the Catalan Republic is declared (the laws have already been approved by the regional parlament) –> what then?

        • Do Something Nice

          1. The last one wasn’t the end of things because of the threats from the Spanish government. Of course people stayed home.
          2. What then? What could be worse than now?

          • pepón

            1. Threats? They were voting for a week! The urns were out an entire week, and nothing happened.

            2. Have you heard about a civil war? Catalans were heavily involved starting the las one.

          • Do Something Nice

            So the Catalans shouldn’t have fought against fascism in the civil war? I’m not following your logic.

          • pepón

            One of the causes that lead to the civil war was the nationalist problem in Catalonia, including a declaration of the “Catalan Republic”. Oh, they were just one of many problems, but they certainly didn’t help.

            And about the famed fight of Catalans against Franco: they fought as long as the front was in Aragon, pillaging everything they could (see Pinturas de Sigena). The moment the aragonese front fell, they surrendered and received Franco as a hero. Nowhere else were the fascist troops received as triumphantly as in Barcelona. Madrid hold out the whole war.

          • barrixines

            I think we’re beginning to see now how the pact of forgetting was never going to be a permanent solution. Metaphorically – maybe literally – at one point you’re going to have to dig up all the bodies.

          • Do Something Nice

            Most of what you wrote is contrary to anything I’ve ever read about the subject,. Can you please cite sources ?

            Otherwise, it is just a bunch of lies.

          • pepón

            About the plundering of Sigena:

            * http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2016/11/14/58260bbfe2704e8f588b4594.html

            They don’t explain exactly how anarchists from Barcelona first burned down the convent, with priceless art inside, and then the Generalitat came over and robbed the paintings. But they give a good overview.

            You can also read how the Catalan government (nationalists) behave when they have the upper hand:

            * https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflicto_de_los_bienes_eclesi%C3%A1sticos_de_la_Franja

            About the reception of the fascist troops in Barcelona:
            * http://www.lavanguardia.com/hemeroteca/20140126/54400393479/guerra-civil-espanola-barcelona-entrada-tropas-franquistas-militar.html

            This is La Vanguardia, so you will have to read between the lines: “Los burgueses, incluyendo catalanistas conservadores, porque la victoria de los militares era un mal menor comparada con la dictadura del proletariado. Los católicos porque podrían practicar su culto libremente. Las gentes de orden, deseosos de tranquilidad social. Y casi todos esperanzados en dejar atrás las penurias económicas.” But there are enough other places where they explain their triumphant entry.

            About the Aragonese Front, read:
            * https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frente_de_Arag%C3%B3n

            You probably have not seen this. Franco visits Catalonia in 1962:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJOeVXxnByg

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            Catalans did NOT start the Civil War. That is historically false, and you know it. The Civil War was started by a millitary coup, led by Franco, representing anti-democratic forces.

          • pepón

            I didn’t say they started it. I said they were involved. Yes, it was a military coup, not by Franco, who was no one at the beginning, but that military coup didn’t happen out of the blue. Catalan nationalism was one of the reasons fascists gave for the coup, and one of the reasons they has so much help (amongst others, from the Catalan bourgeoisie).

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            The last one wasn’t the end of things because it was a non-binding, proxy referendum.

        • barrixines

          This heavy-handedness is not working. How many people will have to be arrested to stop the nationalist movement here?

    • pepón

      So, what should he have done? Let the Catalan government go on with a coup? Let them go against their own laws (Estatut), the Spanish constitution, and the international law? Just sit there as about 35% of the population (latest polls) impose their point of view to the rest 65 %?

      Yes, you are missing big part of the picture. It’s the part of the (at least) other 50% who oppose the vote and are law abiding citizens, that are being discarded, and oppressed by nationalists, the ones in power in Catalonia for the last 40 years. People that are scared for their lives right now.

      As long as you are nationalist, everything is dandy. Try to go against the current, and you will see what happens to you. What do you think will happen if you go out in Barcelona with a Spanish flag? Try it. I dare you. You will notice how democratic nationalists are.

      • barrixines

        I don’t support the Nationalists – I know all too well how they are. It’s partly why I support a referendum – I would like them put back in their place and be shown they are not the voice of the people. Rajoy’s actions right now are amplifying their voice.

        • pepón

          1. The last one did not shut them up, on the contrary. It’s a neverendum: we vote until we are independent, and then we stop.

          2. If you accept a referendum, you are taking away he sovereignty of the Spanish people and giving it to (some) Catalans (not the Catalans living in the rest of Spain! they are excluded) and the nationalists know it, that’s why they are pushing for the referendum. As soon as they have the sovereignty they can do as they please, they are sovereign.

          3. For 40 years the central government has been negotiating and appeasing the nationalist movement/government in Barcelona. What has been the result? Yeah, that.

          4. There is no negotiating with someone that does not want to negotiate. Catalan nationalism is a secular supremacist religion, you cannot reason with them. I know, I have tried.

          5. Do you think it will stop with the independence? Have you heard about the “Paisos Catalans”, the “Great Catalonia”?

          • barrixines

            Of course the last one didn’t shut them up – it was illegal.

            Sorry but I tune out to any issue regarding sovereignty because sovereignity is a Top Trumps card. My sovereignity is more important than your sovereignty. The Spanish government should be sitting down with Catalunya and thrashing out the exact nature of a referendum, who gets to vote, what is the minimum threshold for an independence vote to be declared etc.

            What can I say – I agree with you about the nature of nationalism and I don’t buy for a second that the Catalans are any different. It’s emotion driven. Fallacious appeals to an imagined pureblood past and the uniqueness/superiority of their own identity. I’ve always said I’d be very amused to see the Catalans take on France because you’re right it doesn’t stop here. But it doesn’t stop here either simply because Rajoy orders arrests and the seizure of voting slips.

          • pepón

            You are right. But what are the alternatives? Talking has not worked (40 years of talking, and see the results). To let them vote, you would need to change the Constitution. That would be a possibility, but what do you do with 40 years of indoctrination and propaganda? How can you ensure a neutral vote when the government is heavily involved and heavily finances one of the sides?

            I sincerely don’t see any other solution than what is being done. I recon, Rajoy is doing a piss poor job explaining himself, on the public relations front. And that will be his undoing. He is letting nationalists dominate the narration.

          • barrixines

            I don’t have the answers but I do know that Rajoy is not the man for the job. He does not have the stature or political nous to take charge here. Catalunya has been very skillful for years presenting its narrative to the wider world. It is not only Rajoy’s limitations that are at fault – Spain has never felt the need to explain itself. Before I came to this country I had a completely different opinion of Catalan independence driven by how well Catalunya has presented its arguments.

          • pepón

            You are 100% right. But I fear this will not change, and I see only two ways out: a civil war, or Catalonia becomes independent, and they will really suffer. I’m talking about loosing 30% of their GDP, loosing pensions, and the corresponding corralito. The rest of Spain will not fare well either, surely.

          • Do Something Nice

            “4. There is no negotiating with someone that does not want to negotiate. Catalan nationalism is a secular supremacist religion, you cannot reason with them. I know, I have tried.”

            Of course, you aren’t going to be able to convince those with extreme opinions. The objective should be to convince the vast majority who are undecided or do not want independence that it is better that they remain in Spain. The majority in Barcelona do not support independence – it has mostly come from Girona and places north.

            But the heavy handed actions by the government has many asking themselves what would be worse – the right-wing government of Spain or the right-wing government of the nationalists. It is really sad.

            And for every Catalan nationalist, there is a PP francoist. It’s not like either side has moral standing.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            “And for every Catalan nationalist, there is a PP francoist. It’s not like either side has moral standing.”

            Comparing Catalan independence supporters to Far Right Francoists is like comparing supporters of Hillary Clinton to Trumpanzees.

            False equivalence much?

          • Do Something Nice

            I was “debating” on pepon’s turf, using his logic and addressing #5 in his post. No, I wasn’t comparing the actions of the two – only the numbers.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            Understood. That last sentence caught my eye before I read the preceding text.

    • billbear1961

      How much autonomy do they have?

      Would some kind of arrangement where they have control of virtually everything but foreign affairs be acceptable?

      • barrixines

        I am sure pepón could give you a much more informed answer than me but as I understand it they are not as autonomous as Navarra and the Basque country in that they do not get to set the amount of tax they send to Madrid. This was offered to them in the past – was it Pujol who turned it down?

        • billbear1961

          Check out the reply to me by poster Do Something Nice, b.

      • Do Something Nice

        Less than before 2010, because of the current right-wing government.

        “We have only arrived at this crisis due to aggressive tactics
        employed by Rajoy over the past seven years. In 2010, the Spanish constitutional court annulled a large part of the Catalan statute of autonomy negotiated between Catalonia and the previous prime minister, José Luis Zapatero. This demolished one of the main agreements achieved during the Spanish transition to democracy – Catalonia’s recovery of self-governance.

        The ruling by the court – whose current president is a former
        activist for Rajoy’s conservative Popular party – showed contempt for the legitimacy of the statute of autonomy, which had been approved by both the Catalan and Spanish parliaments, and also by the Catalan citizens through a referendum. More than a million people marched against this annulment in Barcelona in July 2010. Since then, millions more Catalan citizens have taken peacefully to the streets in defence of self-rule and the right to decide on their political future.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/21/catalonia-bloack-catalonia-referendum-rights-mariano-rajoy-carles-puigdemont

        • billbear1961

          Thank you for this.

          This naturally begins to push one more and more towards seeing things their way.

          Right-wing judges are a CURSE.

          • Do Something Nice

            But in this case, the judge is right-wing, the government of Spain is right-wing and the parties pushing Catalan independence are right-wing.

            It’s a lose-lose situation

          • billbear1961

            But they had an agreement, and its brutal annulment by a right-wing court has played into the hands of those who want outright independence.

            It was a very foolish move by an arrogant court.

            The vast majority might have been perfectly satisfied with the autonomy that had been worked out!

            Again, we see the FOLLY of the arrogant right!

          • Do Something Nice

            I believe that the majority still are against independence.

          • billbear1961

            Yes, and if the agreement had been left intact, THAT probably wouldn’t change.

            Right-wing arrogance in Madrid may now drive a majority into the camp advocating for outright independence.

          • Kruhn

            The Spanish does not allow a unilateral referendum. I’m thinking this is Catalonia’s “Quebec in the 90’s” moment. The Socialists and the Centrists are siding with Rajoy on this issue though. Plus low turnout in the Catalan regionals brought the Government to the Generalitat. It came after a summer of indecisive elections.

          • billbear1961

            That’s interesting–about the low turnout.

          • Kruhn

            Spaniards were sick of voting. I think that would’ve been the fourth election in a few months.

        • pepón

          In reality, only minor changes were made to Catalan Estatut by the Constitutional Court (see https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estatuto_de_Autonom%C3%ADa_de_Catalu%C3%B1a_de_2006#Art.C3.ADculos_inconstitucionales). That Estatut is still in force. Theoretically. The Catalan parliament has superseded it with a “disconnection law”, blowing the Estatut, the Constitution, and everything that is not the “Volksmandat”.

          It is incredible how pervasive Catalan nationalist propaganda is.

          • Do Something Nice

            Yes, anything you don’t agree with is nationalist propaganda. But why were any changes made? It was to punish Catalunya. Why did PP work to overturn the Catalan ban on bullfighting? (and they let the Canary Islands ban in place)

            And please note that I don’t support independence. But I also don’t support bullshit.

            If you want to discuss the awful state of the Catalan economy, please also compare it with the other communidads in Spain.

          • pepón

            So everyone that does not comply 100% with what the Catalan government wants is “punishing” Catalonia? Have you read the changes they made to the Estatut? Please see by yourself. It’s in the article. Don’t believe me.

            I can tell you the Estatut (still valid today, not changed by the Constitutional Court) goes so far as to state that the Spanish government may not negotiate an international treaty without asking before if this is OK with the Catalan government. Another point: anyone that wants to change anything in the waters that flow into Catalonia (mainly the Ebro) shall only do it with their permit (fuck Aragon, fuck La Rioja, fuck Navarra). But the waters in Catalonia are their own, and they can do as they please. Do you think the Estatut gives enough freedom to Catalonia?

            If you don’t believe me, read the document for yourself. It’s on the Internet.

          • Do Something Nice

            PP challenged the laws that resulted in the changes. Totally unnecessary.

            PP challenged the bullfighting ban. Totally unnecessary.

            PP constantly rants about the pervasiveness of Catalan, while ignoring that Gallego is much more pervasive. Totally unnecessary. Ditto for Basque.

            PP rejected the Catlan plan for autonomia. But they celebrated when Valencia submitted the same fucking plan.

            Tell me again how some Catalans have issues with Spain?

            I do not want to see independence. But strident people like you are not helping. You can’t even admit when Spain has fucked this up.

          • billbear1961

            This is a superb post, and it makes me support their right to decide for themselves more than ever!

          • pepón

            Really? That’s what you’re going with? “They hate us”?

            I haven’t looked into those specific topics. I can’t tell you if they are true or not. But from my experience, I’d recommend you look deeper into them, specially when they end up being simple talking points: “they hate us” = they are mean people, “they don’t understand us” = they are dumb, “we are better/great/special/different” = they are not, “we are being attacked” = they don’t repeat our talking points/they don’t do what we want, and so on. Usually, when you do, you discover half truths, and lies (mixed with a few non alternative truths here and there).

            I’ll just take on one of your points, because it’s clear to me: “PP challenged the bullfighting ban. Totally unnecessary.” The people in the PPC = Partit Popular de Catalunya (the ones that took it to the courts) are as Catalan as anyone else, including nationalists. They don’t need Catalan nationalists to give them any purity certificate to defend their own opinions, nor your permission. They have a right to take things to the courts, just like nationalists do. And just like with any other court, sometimes you lose (Doe v. Commonwealth’s Attorney of Richmond), sometimes you win (Lawrence v. Texas). The bullfighting ban was annulled due to procedural reasons, the Catalan government had overstepped their powers, again. And again, thinking the bullfight ban has something to do with protecting animals is disingenuous.

          • Do Something Nice

            What a coincidence. Disingenuous is how I just described you to someone.

            Ideology is a disease. Feel free to engage me again when you are cured.

          • billbear1961

            Ah, but how do WE know which side is guilty or guiltier of propaganda?

            Where can we, as outsiders, turn for an impartial assessment?

          • barrixines

            I think you can see why I am an avowed fence sitter. Even when you’re broadly in agreement with someone, venture the mildest opinion here and you’re guaranteed to set something off.

          • Do Something Nice

            I’m pretty clear that Spain and Catalunya are better off as being part of one country. But not under the current leadership in Spain and Catalunya.

          • billbear1961

            Yes, I do understand.

            🙂

          • pepón

            In the Wikipedia article all the changes are listed. You can decide for yourself if that is a big or a small change.

            I have decided for myself those are minor changes and Catalan nationalist propaganda is bullshit. And btw. I’ve read the thing, and I think it is completely shameless what they have written in there. But that’s my opinion.

  • bambinoitaliano

    O/T Anyone knows about this ball gag Cristiano Ronaldo is promoting? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0f43fac1afe6c9d514917e6934554f9e31beb54fa8c4aab25592e81c172be1c8.gif

  • Ivan T. Errible

    I thought a lot of this was money; Catalonia is a lot wealthier than the rest of Spain, especially those parts of Spain in the south and it doesn’t want to send its tax money to support them any more.

  • another_steve

    If this world of ours comes to an end, it’ll be the result of growing nationalistic tensions and frustrations. Instead of viewing the world as “one people,” we’re descending into a tribal mindset that spells doom for our species.

    Read your history books. It’s all there.

    • pepón
      • another_steve

        Yes. Sullivan reminds me of George Will: I can’t stand much of their stuff but occasionally there’s a gem thrown in there. Sometimes they get it right.

        I think we humans are tribal by nature and I think we need to combat that instinct today. The instinct to close ranks and insulate oneself with others who are like-minded no doubt served a survival purpose early on in the history of our species. Similarly, I believe the aversion to same-sex affection (what we today call “homophobia”) also once served a species survival purpose. That, imo, is why the instinct – the fear – came to us in the first place.

        But this is a different world today, with different realities. Tribalism and homophobia no longer assist us. They impede our progress.

        We need to let fall away that which confines and is no longer useful.

        The Way of Nature, that.

  • Ken M

    Cute guy, holding sign, top clip, TGIF

    • billbear1961

      You notice that, too, did ya?

      🙂

      • Ken M

        Color me embarrassed, but he was the first thing I noticed : )

    • billbear1961

      I mean about the guy, not about it being Friday!

      🙂

  • LatrinaDiBucca

    I do not believe that a separate Catalunya is in the best interest of Catalans. But state violence and authoritarian repression are not the way to effect stability.

    This is like a brutish profligate philandering alcoholic husband slapping his wife when she tells him she wants a divorce.

    Rajoy invoking dark memories of Francoist dictatorship will coalesce a fractured Independence movement. His ineptitude is matched only by his corruption.
    .

  • Leo

    OT. Twitter should testify publicly and RT register under FARA.
    https://twitter.com/ForeignPolicy/status/910995809466019840

  • Rebecca Gardner

    OT but those motherfuckers in the White House all need to go. They are intentionally destroying everything and want to make everyone miserable. It’s intentional, it’s psychotic, and we all need to take to the streets. We need to make the South Korea protests look like a Trump Inauguration crowd in comparison.

    https://twitter.com/funder/status/911242003647799296

    • billbear1961

      I’ve been saying massive and relentless protests are needed NOW for . . . I forget how many weeks or months.

      Some people on Political Wire have basically told me to STFU.

      I’ll say I’m leaving, probably, and then don’t, because I remember that commenting SHOULD not be a popularity contest!

  • AtticusP

    The Spanish government must have consulted with Trump. How else to explain such a stupid action?

    They have all but assured a civil war.

  • bambinoitaliano

    O/T Hillary Clinton is coming to Toronto to promote her book next week. If there is a chance encounter, is it insulting to address her as Madam President?

    • billbear1961

      How about, “Mrs. Clinton, YOU are the legitimate POTUS!”

  • JT

    Homage to Catalonia.

  • Publius

    The referendum is unconstitutional, and has been judged by the judiciary as such. This is a rare and unmistakable demonstration of what government is responsible for doing, at its core: enforcing its will by force.

    Catalonia should not be entitled to hold this referendum because independence is unconstitutional, just as it is here in the United States. As I’ve said before, the Catalonian government is committing a disservice to its people by making them believe Catalonia could survive and be recognized as an independent nation; it would continue to be dependent and bound to Spain in every imaginable way even if it were “independent.”

    The independence movement isn’t cute. It’s dangerous and irresponsible.

    • billbear1961

      They are a separate and distinct people, and have the same basic right to self-determination that the Scots or the Welsh have in the UK, or that the Québécois do in Canada.

      • Publius

        I’m intimately familiar with Spanish politics and Catalonia. I am Spanish, although not Catalonian.

        Catalonia, like all autonomous communities, enjoy a heightened degree of liberty and independence from the central government, including the right to right to operationalize their nationalism in government policy.

        • billbear1961

          Did you check out the reply I asked you to look at?

          Why did the arrogant right-wing court annul an agreement on autonomy that had been widely approved?

          • Publius

            You’ll have to assess the reasoning by reviewing the decisions yourself. I doubt there’s anything I can say here to provide you with an explanation you want to hear, considering what you think of the judiciary.

            It’s also unclear which court you mean, and what agreement you mean. If you’re referring to Catalonia’s 2006 statute and the court ruling a few years ago, 2010 to be exact, then know that was a left-wing court under the previous government.

        • LatrinaDiBucca

          Clearly you are not Catalan.

          • Publius

            Clearly I’m not because I said I’m not. You’re good at reading.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            Clearly you are hostile to the legitimate grievances of the citizens of Catalunya. You’re not so good at inferring.

          • Publius

            You’re assuming their grievances haven’t been addressed by legislative solutions, or that they aren’t subject to the due process of law. Catalonia isn’t wounded; like I’ve said, and as is generally accepted, it has a high degree of liberty, as do all other autonomous communities.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            I know for a fact that the grievances have not been addressed to the satisfaction of Catalunya, and that the constitutionally granted autonomy has been encroached on by the overbearing central government in Madrid for at least the last 10 years.

          • Publius

            Lots of grievances aren’t addressed to the satisfaction of particular peoples. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. Catalonia hasn’t won as much as it wants, and now it thinks it deserves independence?

            An “independent” Catalonia would die outside the womb.

      • Karl Dubhe

        As long as the separation question is clear, I’m with you. 🙂

        • billbear1961

          This is perfectly reasonable/fair.

    • LatrinaDiBucca

      Even more ‘dangerous and irresponsible’ is Rajoy’s heavy-handed repression of elected Catalan politicians, and the assumption of control over Catalunya’s finances.

      Let the referendum proceed. If it fails. as well it might, Rajoy wins. If it succeeds, assert the unconstitutionality of secession, but use the results as a barometer of concessions to be ceded in a politically negotiated resolution of their differences. Rajoy’s abusive, repressive response suggests that he is afraid of the outcome, when in fact he should be confident.

      Madrid has encroached on Catalunya’s autonomy in recent years, cutting funding of infracstructure, education, social services, and arts support, while both the country and the region experienced economic crisis. The central government hit a particularly sensitive nerve when it moved to re-assert the Castillian dialect as the primary language of instruction in public education, while de-emphasizing instruction in Catalan language and Catalan culture.

      These acts of aggression against Catalunya may not justify secession but Catalans have very legitimate complaints against the central government in Madrid.

      • Publius

        Your rebuttal seems generic, and doesn’t really address the motives for the heavy handed tactics.

        The referendum, and by extension independence, is literally, actually, unambiguously unconstitutional, therefore it doesn’t seem unreasonable for the government to prevent it from taking place.

        As for the assumption of Catalonia’s finances — read carefully — Catalonia has been unable/unwilling to demonstrate that it hasn’t been using central public monies to finance the referendum. It is completely reasonable to demand that a local government doesn’t use money for unconstitutional purposes.

        • LatrinaDiBucca

          Repression of a democratic expression of the will of the citizens of Catalunya, pro or contra, is unreasonable. Period.

          • Publius

            Consitutions still mean something. Have you read it? A PDF is below. See sections 2 and 3.

            http://www.congreso.es/portal/page/portal/Congreso/Congreso/Hist_Normas/Norm/const_espa_texto_ingles_0.pdf

          • billbear1961

            The right to self-determination ALSO means something.

          • pepón

            What does it mean exactly? Does New York have a right to self-determination? Does Wisconsin?

          • billbear1961

            In Catalonia, we are talking about the right of a distinct people–they are not Spanish (and they occupy a distinct geographic location)–the right of a distinct and separate people to self-determination, like the Scots or Welsh in the UK, or the Québécois in Canada.

            This doesn’t hold true for the people of NY or Wisconsin. They are not a distinct people, distinct, separate societies, different from other Americans in any major way (linguistically, culturally). You COULD make an argument for distinct status for some states in the southwest, where many speak Spanish and have a culture that is distinct from Anglo culture in the rest of the country.

            Actually, TODAY, if a U.S. state is arguing that it must secede in order to protect itself from incipient FASCISM, I would argue that it DOES have that right, especially if other states, with which it could form a confederation, decide on the same path to preserve DEMOCRACY.

          • pepón

            Catalans are Spanish/Hispanii, and have been for at least 2000 years. Initially as a geographical/cultural identity, like Italians or Germans, and for 500 as part of the same government as the rest of Spain, with just the tiniest of interruptions. It is funny that the fact that Catalans have maintained their culture, and their language those 500 years (including Francoism) is somehow due to the rest of Spain oppressing them. And btw. Spanish has been spoken in Barcelona continuously since the 16 century.

            Let’s compare with the neighbor: France. In 200 years they have decimated Provencal, a literary language that was spoken by 6 million people, Franco-Provencal, Corsican, Catalan, Alsatian/German, Breton, and of course all the oui dialects. But somehow, they are the epitome of democracy. Britain has decimated Cornish, Manx, Scots, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish, not as brutally as France, but only small minorities, if at all, speak those languages any more. Should I go on?

          • billbear1961

            Madrid is behaving very foolishly, pepón, playing right into the hands of those who favour independence. You must see how BAD it looks.

            That court should have left the autonomy agreement, approved so widely, alone.

          • Do Something Nice

            You can’t reason with them. In their eyes, Spain has done nothing wrong that the Catalans are 100% wrong. They are pushing people to support independence. It is both sad and terrifying.

          • billbear1961

            It doesn’t have to be terrifying, if people keep their heads, and accept democratic decisions.

            Don’t let them get your goat, DSN!

          • pepón

            I can see that, but what else is there to do?

            This is not something that has happened now. This has been coming at least 27 years. In 1990 Jordi Pujol made a plan to infiltrate civil society with nationalists: Programa 2000 (https://elpais.com/diario/1990/10/28/espana/657068405_850215.html), thought, schools, university, and intellectuals, mass media, cultural associations, business, etc. The objective was clear: dominate society.

            Now it might be too late to stop it, but in one generation it certainly will be too late. The children coming out of Catalan schools will be so indoctrinated there will be no way around independence. Can you imagine taking school children to these protests? (http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20170922/431465064104/gobierno-investiga-permisos-escolares-ninos-manifestaciones.html) Can you imagine a school taking their students to a protest in front of a police station? (http://politica.e-noticies.cat/un-institut-porta-els-alumnes-a-manifestar-se-davant-duna-comissaria-112535.html) How fanatic must you be to put your children in danger?

            Is the Spanish government behaving foolishly? Maybe. They should have acted years ago, but they needed Catalan nationalist parties to govern. So they gave Catalonia money and more self-government, kept out of Catalonia in exchange for their votes. Catalan nationalists did whatever they wanted in Catalonia (see above). And here we are. Now what?

          • billbear1961

            Fully restore the agreement on autonomy?

            Allow the referendum as a legally nonbinding but formal consultation to gauge public opinion?

            Assuming the EU holds together–maybe that’s a big assumption to make–and that, in those circumstances, borders between member states continue to be less of a barrier than they once were, and political and economic integration continues to move forward, how important is it that Catalonia remain fully INSIDE the Spanish state??

          • billbear1961

            Another important point, which I left out, is that the distinct people in question must have occupied their current territory for a very long time. They cannot be recent arrivals.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            You argue like a Catholic wife-beater who asserts that divorce is impossible. You probably make love like a rapist.

          • Publius

            Oh there it is. Broke you. You couldn’t handle a debate without going there. How weak and sad to bring discourse to this level, just because you so intensely disagree with opposing opinions.

          • LatrinaDiBucca

            Well, I suppose you can unilaterally declare pyrrhic victory and retreat now?

            If you have read what I’ve written in this thread, I have said unequivocally that I do not think that secession and independence are in the best interests of Catalans. But I do believe that they have a right to peacefully and democratically voice their dissatisfaction with the central government in Madrid.

            Your minimization of and dismissive attitude toward, nay denial of, the legitimate grievances of the citizens of Catalunya mark you as hostile to the central questions of the issue. You are most certainly NOT a disinterested party.

          • Publius

            I think you’re fundamentally misunderstanding my position.

            Catalonia may very well have legitimate grievances, but because the constitution clearly states Spain is indissoluble, it is therefore unconstitutional to hold a referendum, and thus reasonable for a government to prevent one.

            Please disagree with the constitutional interpretation if you like, but don’t mischaracterize my feelings about the self-government of the autonomous communities, one of which I personally belong to and am proud is distinctive in its nationality.

          • billbear1961

            I understand the point you’re making with your first sentence.

            But you damage your argument/cause with the second.

          • Publius

            Thanks.

            I’m fine/delighted by vigorous and intense debate. It keeps us all on our toes. But I think we all suffer when debate takes a turn for whatever that was. That’s not how we should do things a civil society.

          • billbear1961

            He surprised me, because he was doing a great job until that moment.

            It really surprised me!

          • billbear1961

            You were doing GREAT until the sentence about Publius being like a rapist.

      • Do Something Nice

        Not to mention the petty stuff – PP overturn Catalunya’s ban on bullfighting (even though they let the ban in the Canary Islands stand), the constant denigration of Catalans, etc.

        If Spain would only embrace the wonderful diversity of cultures, everything would be much better.

        • pepón

          What should Spain exactly do to “embrace the wonderful diversity of cultures”? Please tell.

          • Do Something Nice

            So you agree that it was OK to work to overturn the ban on bullfighting in Catalunya but not Canarias?

          • Publius

            The courts overturned Catalonia’s ban. The Canary Islands’ ban wasn’t challenged in the same manner.

          • Do Something Nice

            Because PP challenged the ban. You just lost all of your credibility.

          • Publius

            Your comment has all the credibility of a child holding a finger to his nose to indicate that he’s now safe.

            You have zero knowledge of Spanish politics, and even less knowledge of how the judicial system works in Spain. You Googled some talking points, and now you’re passing them off here like you know what you’re talking about.

          • Do Something Nice

            You know nothing about me. I learned all that I know in Spain, not from Google.

            “The ban was taken to court by the Catalan branch of the governing centre-right Popular Party (PP).”

            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37719997

            But please continue to spew nonsense with no links to back up your claims.

          • Publius

            I know you’re ignorant of the judicial system. You clearly are unaware that the courts in Spain operate much differently than ones in the United States, including in the applicablity of jurisdiction.

            And yup, the PP is mean. And so that means Catalonia should be an independent and unrecognized country.

          • Do Something Nice

            Hijo de puta, I don’t support independence. But neither do I support lies coming from strident people like you.

            Attitudes like yours are pushing undecided people to independence.

          • Publius

            Name the lies you’ve responded to. You’re commenting just for the sake of commenting. It’s common on threads like these when people are called out for not knowing what they’re talking about; they drag it on.

          • Do Something Nice

            Again, you know nothing about me and are making assumptions. Stridency like yours is part of the problem. I don’t want to see independence but attitudes like your are pushing people to independence.

          • Publius

            Still waiting on which of my statements are lies.

          • Do Something Nice

            Oh my God, someone is breaking a law in the Constitution. You realize that every great social movement in history was law-breaking, right?

            Again, I think both Spain and Catalunya are better off unified. But not under the current leadership of Spain and Catalunya.

            Actually, I’m no longer engaging you. Declare victory or whatever you need to feel superior, and make up shit about me too to justify your arguments.

            You are strident and unreasonable and certainly as much of the problem as the nationalists that you despise.

          • Publius

            Okay, I get it, you would rather re-use the word strident (I’ll take three shots!) than back up your claims that I’ve lied. Even though we agree with unification, you’ve instead decided to offer a contrarian set of words and letters just because you don’t like my approach. And you’ll continue to engage.

          • pepón

            No, I don’t think it was OK. I’m against bull fighting. But on court, sometime you won sometimes you lose. And btw. it’s more complicated than what you imply. The ban was not just overturned.

            But I also know why they banned bullfighting, and it had nothing to do with protecting the bulls (see correbous), and everything to do with nation building.

            *corrected to explain better*

          • Do Something Nice

            Oh, I see. We can cure lung cancer because of breast cancer. Or something.

            There is work to ban correbous too. You are just as nationalist as the independistas.

          • pepón

            “There is work to ban correbous too”: why didn’t they do it at the same time with bullfighting? There is no reason the shouldn’t have. They’ve had now 7 years since the ban. Where is this work? Do you really need 7 years more to ban correbous?

            Great. You have no more arguments, so I’m just a nationalist. Funny, Catalan nationalists use “fascist” when you don’t agree 100% with their talking points.

          • Do Something Nice

            I don’t support independence. Your argument that a major step to eliminate animal cruelty in bullfighting is wasted because it didn’t end all cruelty is idiotic. Why should the Catalans bother to ban anything else if PP is going to waste money by challenging it in court?

            Again, you can’t admit that Spain is doing anything wrong. You are part of the problem.

          • pepón

            Well, I do support Catalan independence. I’m fed up of being insulted and drawn through mud every second day by supremacists. Let them be all grown up, and solve their own shit. Let’s see how they fare when they cannot blame “Madrid” for their own failures. If they think independence will solve anything, they better prepare for rude wake up.

            Did I say anywhere that “Spain” wasn’t doing anything wrong? I think “Spain” is doing a lot of things wrong, but that doesn’t mean “Catalonia” is making them right. Or is it?

            And by the way, there is a difference between Spain and its government. Just like there is a difference between Trump and the US. And right now, the Catalan government is not just ignoring half of Catalonia, they are tr(u)mping on them.

          • billbear1961

            Well, you’re a bit more nuanced than Publius–I’ll give you that!

        • billbear1961

          That they made the progressive move to ban bullfighting speaks very well of Catalans! That Spain forced them to allow it again is morally offensive. It’s disgusting.

          That many Spaniards denigrate Catalans–I see you are against independence and so have no partisan reason to make such a charge falsely–also speaks badly of Spain.

      • Gianni

        Very informative. Thank you. I have a question: Do Catalans identify themselves to the rest of the world as Catalans or do they identify as Spanish? Asking because of a similar ethnic situation.

        • That_Looks_Delicious

          According to a 2016 poll done by the CEO, 40% of Catalans feel equally Spanish & Catalan, 25% feel only Catalan, 23% feel more Catalan than Spanish, 5% feel only Spanish and 4% feel more Spanish than Catalan.

          This is not distributed uniformly, however. The rural areas, small-to-medium sized towns, north and interior are pro-independence. This is a large part of the area of Catalonia, but doesn’t have that many people. The Barcelona metropolitan area and the southern coastal area up to Tarragona is generally not in favor of independence. This isn’t that big of an area, but it has a huge proportion of the population, most of the big cities and the vast majority of the economy of Catalonia.

          • That_Looks_Delicious
          • pepón

            The map is misleading, as the population concentrates in the areas where nationalism is less popular.

          • That_Looks_Delicious

            That is correct. Not unlike Trump’s county-by-county electoral map that he put up on the walls in the White House. It did show large red areas that he won, but that is because there are huge expanses of America where very few people live (Trump won almost all the rural counties). Hillary still won the popular vote by 3 million

          • Gianni

            Thank you.

    • billbear1961

      Please see the reply to me by poster Do Something Nice, below.

    • LatrinaDiBucca

      Also, of particular interest in this forum, should be the attempts by Rajoy and his political supporters to reverse marriage equality in Spain.

      While Rajoy himself is as weak as one-egg pudding, the people who prop him up are toxically Nationalist, pro-Catholic, crypto-Francoists.

      He reveals himself by the company he keeps.

      • Publius

        The PM doesn’t support marriage equality, but he has officially declined to introduce a legislative repeal. And if he comes off as being pro-Catholic, it’s probably because the state religion is Catholicism. Yes, Spain has a state religion…most countries with monarchies do.

        • Do Something Nice

          Yes, PP is only right-wing because of the church. Or something.

        • LatrinaDiBucca

          If Rajoy comes off as pro-Catholic, it is because he distinguishes himself with religiously converstative views, out of step with the overwhelming majority of Spanish citizens.

          While Spain is nominally “catholic”, only a small minority ~15% attend mass regularly, with a clear majority of Spaniards not being observant at all.

          Not coincidentally, perhaps, these trends are even more marked in Catalunya, where the church is still regarded with enmity because of it’s pea-pod tight relationship with Franco.

          • billbear1961

            Thank you VERY much for your posts.

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        Puh-lease. How exactly has Rajoy tried to reverse marriage equality? Name one instance. He has been PM since 2011 and in his first term his party had an absolute majority (in his current term he’s in a minority coalition government). If he were going to do anything in that vein, he would have done it by now.

    • Franciscan

      Whether or not this a call for independence is “unconstitutional”, this is a really stupid move on the part of the government to suppress a growing movement. It will certainly backfire.

      • Publius

        Yeah I’m a bit torn, actually. I agree with the actions in principle, but heavy-handedness like this is certainly very telling for anyone who was previously undecided. Governance is a tough one, and there’s gotta be balance.

  • JT

    Madrid should move quickly to soothe any cracks in this relationship.
    http://www.projectq.us/images/uploads/fullafinal.jpg

    • jmax

      I will gladly lend a hand. Please.

      • djcoastermark

        yes, they obviously need help with their pants. (lowered)

  • Karl Dubhe

    Who else read that as ‘Californian’? 🙂

  • JWC

    It is interesting, that in the world sociopolitical face, there are so many states or parts of a country, that are considering a “brake away’ clause . Interesting only in why

  • JCF

    “Civil Guard police this week arrested around a dozen regional government officials and seized about 10 million ballot papers.”

    Well, I’m sure *that* will cure the Catalan Unpleasantness! /s

  • Jmdintpa

    I do not really know enough to say good or bad but I am headed there Tuesday to visit friends. It does seem a little harsh to take the ballots. I hope that they resolve this without violence. Theres just to much of that in the world.